Everyday Elegance Over 50: Learning elegance from fabulous women who do it well

Vivienne Files on Over 50 Feeling 40

I love Fridays!  This is when I discuss how to learn elegance in our every day, over 50 lives, and today I am going to continue introducing you to women who live and exude elegance so well and, therefore, make excellent role models for the rest of us.  So, meet my friend, Janice Riggs, founder of The Vivienne Files. 

I began to learn from Janice on her blog in my early days of blogging, but when she learned that I was headed to Chicago with my husband, she offered to be a gracious, elegant hostess for an evening and I became even more of a fan and a friend.  We had a great time and she introduced me to her Chicago that she loves.  Here is how our recent conversation went….


Vivienne Files logo on Over 50 Feeling 40

  1. Please tell us about you…


I live in Chicago, where I’ve lived for over 30 years – except for a year in Dublin Ireland. I’m sixty, although I still feel like I’m either 35, or maybe 90…


As soon as we can manage it, my husband and I are retiring to Ireland. The pandemic has thrown a wrench the size of Idaho into these plans, but they’re still going to happen! My husband is an Irish citizen, so we will be allowed into the country, although we might have to quarantine.


  1. How did the Vivienne Files happen…and how has It evolved?



The Vivienne Files started on a Yahoo chat group called Je Ne Sais Quoi… It was a group of women who love all things French – especially Parisian! At that time, I was working in advertising, running an international research project, and so I traveled to Paris a LOT. When questions would come up in the group about things that Paris women would (or wouldn’t) do, I would often be asked to do some research!

And then I briefly became acquainted with a woman who worked at my “regular” Paris hotel – she was my physical opposite, but we had very similar tastes in clothes. She taught me much…

Of course, her name was Vivienne!

Janice Riggs Blog on oVer 50 Feeling 40

Over the course of a year or two, I wrote occasion long responses to questions that were asked in the group. I didn’t know at the time, but some of the other members were saving all these responses in a Word Document which they very cleverly named “The Vivienne Files.”

About 7 or 8 years after that, I was goofing off one day and I ran across a long quote from those original Vivienne Files, on someone’s blog. (I truly can’t remember who was quoting it…) I realized that all those things that I had learned still had relevance and could be built upon…

Next day I bought up the domain and started writing!

3. Do you have any new goals for the blog or for you that you would be willing to share?

I’ve been saying for years that I want to write a book; I’m really stuck because my work is so visually focused, and that means that I will need an illustrator! I’m thinking seriously about putting together a short book that focuses on the Weekly Timeless Wardrobe (a series that I’ve been writing for 52 weeks – it just finished!)

Also, I would love to attract millions more readers, but I’m not sure how that happens! I need an agent…

Pamela Lutrell discusses how she organizes her closet


4. Do you believe that any woman can learn elegance?

Absolutely! The key is to learn to listen to yourself, and not to others. If you can manage to dress yourself AS YOURSELF, and not in some costume that’s been foisted off on you by the “fashion” powers that be, you’re most of the way there.

And discipline is key – buy less but buy better. Wear what you own more often. Don’t worry about being seen in the same outfit twice in a week. All those old rules that used to control us will never help us be elegant….


5. What does the word elegance mean to you?

Appropriate and attractive, for both the woman and the occasion. Not overdone – less is more, and simple is better than complicated. The best possible items you can find, cared for meticulously…. Washed, ironed, polished, repaired, maintained…

Flawlessly groomed. Excellent posture. A smile, a warm expression, genuine kindness.

Tea Time with Pamela Lutrell


6. In our new more casual, over 50 lives, what is your best advice for how we should build our wardrobes.

Introspection! A long, hard look at your body, your preferences, your activities, your budget. Most women don’t have a budget for their clothing and accessories, nor do they have a true shopping list or plan for what they want to buy. You wouldn’t buy groceries without at least some idea of what you’re going to do with them; you shouldn’t buy clothing for which you don’t have a plan either!

And dreaming. What would you wear if money were no object? Would that be appropriate for your life? Is there a way to replicate that dream so that it works for your life?


Pamela Lutrell of Over 50 Feeling 40

I agree with Janice that the key is to “listen to ourselves and not to others”, however, I have learned so much in the last 10 years from other women and it has helped me to make important decisions about my own style.  I still am uniquely-Pamela (with my colors, prints, and accessories) but it helped to have “instructors” like Janice to inspire me in many ways.  This is why I desire for you to meet and know some of the women who I believe are inspiring others to learn elegant lifestyles. 

When I first began my reinvention journey, it was the same as going to school…I read, actually took an online course, and then listened to instructors like Janice.  Remember, she portrays elegance not only with her style, but also with her graciousness and joy.  I believe the inside is more about elegance than anything!

Pamela Lutrell on Over 50 Feeling 40

Pamela Lutrell on Over 50 Feeling 40

I believe you will enjoy learning from her as well!  I have two slideshows for you today…one is from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, and the other includes fun finds from our favorite retailers!  Have fun with all of this “elegant” information and make sure you…………………….





Home Depot



Taking Juice Plus+ for seven years on Over 50 Feeling 40

There are several ways that I generate income through this blog in order to cover business expenses and give myself much needed income.  Purchases through the slideshow links is one way, ads on the page is one way and a new way is through ordering or re-ordering Juice Plus+ whole food capsules.  Please read my story and information HERE.




Pamela Lutrell and Goli

Another way is through ordering or re-ordering the GOLI Apple Cider Vinegar gummies through me with my GOLI LINK HERE.  Again, if you are not familiar with the benefits of apple cider vinegar, you should speak with your personal physician.  My husband and I are sold on the benefits and I am proud to represent this product.  I am going to leave this at the bottom of my posts so that when you, friends or family would like to order you can use my link.  Thanks for the support.  This is a great product; as well as, the ones below!




Chamonix on Over 50 Feeling 40

All natural, plant-cell technology skincare



By Pamela Lutrell


  1. I have read the Vivienne Files for several years now. This is honestly what gave me the desire to pare down my mish-mash work wardrobe, that then translated into paring down my entire wardrobe. So I have drawn inspiration from Janice’s blog. I started buying less and better, and still do. I actually DO have a clothing budget AND a list, and it has kept me on track and kept my wardrobe in check. So those are great points. I love the outfits you are showing today Pam! That one with the full crops is so creative and yes, elegant!! The tip about dressing as ourselves is wonderful, not bowing to the trends or what we’re told. I’m going to make a note of that so that I don’t become side-tracked thinking I HAVE to have something I see on someone else. I’m getting better at this, but a reminder is always welcome! Happy Friday! Even though I’m retired, I still feel differently, more relaxed when it’s a weekend!

  2. It’s strange how we interpret elegance. I’m not elegant but can identify it in others I believe. I see it in neutrals rather than in bold colors not in pastels usually though an all over color palate might be elegant as in all over white outfit. It’s also in the way a person carries herself with great posture, confidence, a quiet calm. Simple. Loud chatter is not elegant. Maybe we all hold our own unique view of elegance.

  3. Since I started this, Paulette, I see so much similarity in the comments about elegance. Though it may have different interpretations, most of the foundations are the same. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I too have been a fan of Janice’s blog for several years. And as a big fan of scarves, I so enjoy seeing “her” scarves, and suggestions of clothing to complete wardrobes. I am much more aware now of neutrals, and colors which complement one’s skin tone so I can quickly dismiss items which do not suit my coloring. Following her blog has also helped me to pack for trips, limiting my items, but covering all the bases of need.

  5. I have always loved what she does with Artwork and Fashion…really inspirational. Thanks Celia.

  6. Thank you for introducing us to another fascinating woman. I am going to dive into the ‘files’ later. The point about dressing for lifestyle is something I still struggle with. I am still drawn to items that have no place in todays activities. Lessons to be learned. Thanks

  7. Thanks for today’s introduction to your friend. I will be checking out her blog. Best wishes to her and her husband as they pursue their dream of moving to Ireland!! You, Pam, look gorgeous in that printed navy blue blouse outfit. Is that something new? I’d love a link if it’s still available. Happy Weekend!! 🙋‍♀️🌼

  8. Sorry Connie…but that outfit is an oldie but goodie. Wish I had links for you! Thanks so much for asking!

  9. I can identify with Diane B.! I too am drawn to clothes that do not fit my life style and never will now that I am older and retired. It is almost like having clothes for a fantasy life “just in case.” I love the Vivienne Files as well as the Pam files. Thank you.

  10. I am sure I fall into this category as well Jill, but I am taking this time to research who I want to be as I transition! Thank you for being here.

  11. What I love most about Janice’s blog is that she talks about the principles behind what she’s doing when she puts wardrobes together — that way you’re learning principles/ideas (not rules) while being shown literally hundreds of examples of how those principles/ideas can be incarnated. She really is a master teacher, though she may not think of herself that way.

  12. What a great interview! I used to read The Vivienne Files all the time and am not too sure why I stopped — there was a computer crash in which I lost all my bookmarks, a family mini-crisis or two, busy work, who knows — but it was nice to be reminded of how much I enjoyed reading Janice’s blog. I look forward to getting back to it.

    I lived in Montreal for a year when I was in my 20s & one thing that stood out during that time was how effortless French women make “elegant” look. Many of the women I knew were my age, working in offices downtown & making very little money, & yet most of them dressed like fashion models. The things that stood out for me: they loved looking beautiful, sexy & elegant & made it a priority, they stuck with classics & rarely bought trends, they avoided “fussy”, complicated & over-done & they paid close attention to fit, quality & how the fabric draped & moved. They were also fearless when it came to putting things together in ways most of us would never think of doing to create brand new looks. And the biggest thing: they had an inherent understanding of what looked fabulous on them — they rarely made those mistakes most of us have hanging unworn in the back of the closet. They also haunted thrift & consignment stores & never paid full price for anything 🙂

  13. I just recently discovered your blog Pamela, and I am inspired by your journey to create a more elegant you! Your really look amazing in all of your outfits and I love the changes in your hair and make up.. When you see a woman or a man who has taken time to tend to their appearance and clothing it really communitcates who they are and how they feel abou themselves. I find that elegance is something I can aspire to in my wardrobe and in my life when I take time to care for my garments and my appearance, Thank you for sharing this really interesting and positive content.

  14. Thank you for sharing the question, answer time with Janice. I am keeping a journal of the ideas you are presenting so I can work on my choices for elegance. The best to you.

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